- Liverpool manager says players must be ready for all challenges
• Klopp, however, savoured a good start in 4-0 rout of West Ham
Andy Hunter at Anfield
Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool face an “unbelievably hard” Premier League season despite opening the campaign with a 4-0 rout of West Ham United, their biggest opening-day win at Anfield since 1932.
The Liverpool manager savoured “a very good start” as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, twice, and the substitute Daniel Sturridge scored in the comfortable defeat of Manuel Pellegrini’s new-look side. It was Liverpool’s biggest opening-day win since the 6-1 defeat of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in 1994.
“We know the expectations; we have expectations as well,” said Klopp. “We realised it was a very positive atmosphere around us in pre-season. It’s good that the people can be positive but they know that this season will be unbelievably hard. That’s the only thing I want to say.
“We cannot be anything other than ‘the challenger’ because we didn’t win anything since I don’t know when – certainly since I am here. We have to invest more, we have to fight more, we have to create more. That’s what we spoke about and what we expect from ourselves. West Ham for sure will play a good season but they are not United or City, that’s how it is. They know that, we know that and we have to be ready week in, week out for all the different challenges. That’s the expectations. Ours is the highest but we know that.”
Naby Keïta impressed on his Liverpool debut as Klopp fielded the £52.75m signing from Red Bull Leipzig on the left of a three-man midfield. The manager said: “After six weeks in I don’t see a difference between a new player and another player. Naby is in because he’s a really good footballer. He plays a similar style of play, and a similar position, to what he did at Leipzig. He can play different positions but I think the eight is his best for the moment.”
Klopp confirmed he does not expect Dejan Lovren to feature for two to three weeks after aggravating a stomach injury during Croatia’s run to the World Cup final. “Dejan had a few problems last year,” he said, “but he could play, and he played really good. In the World Cup he has three 120-minute games and it got a little bit worse but I am sure it will settle in the next two or three weeks. In that time he can train but not the full programme. It’s serious but not that serious.”